Monday, March 23 2009
Kentucky Derby 135 Update (3.23.09)
MIDWEST/HOLD ME BACK ENTERS KENTUCKY DERBY PICTURE WITH LANE’S END WIN
Before Saturday it would have been safe to describe WinStar Farm’s Hold Me Back as being well below the radar of those who track the hopes and progress of contenders for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I). But the colt’s days of relative anonymity ended Saturday when he rallied in the stretch under three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Kent Desormeaux to score a 9-1 upset in the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (GII) at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.
The son of Giant’s Causeway rallied from next-to-last in the field of 12 three-year-olds and rolled past 24-1 shot Flying Private in the stretch to win by a comfortable 1 ¾ lengths. It was the first start of the year for the Bill Mott-trained colt, who suffered the only loss of his career in a fifth-place finish behind Old Fashioned in the Remsen (GII) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29. Hold Me Back is unbeaten in three starts over synthetic racing surfaces and covered the 1 1/8 miles on Turfway’s Polytrack surface in 1:49.63.
Kentucky Oaks 135 Update (3.23.09)
MIDWEST/HOT CHA CHA PULLS BOURBONETTE SURPRISE, UNLIKELY FOR KENTUCKY OAKS
Nelson McMakin’s Turfway Park-based Hot Cha Cha thrived on her home course advantage as she circled the field on the turn for home and drew away for a six-length romp in the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks (Grade (III) on Saturday at the Florence, Ky. track.
Orlando Mojica rode the winner, a daughter of Cactus Ridge who has made all five of her career starts over the Polytrack oval at Turfway Park. She won for the third time in five races after she launched her career in a pair of claiming races. Hot Cha Cha covered the one-mile distance in 1:37.22.
Friday, March 20 2009
Nine-Time Winners Ken and Sarah Ramsey Joined by Newcomers Maker, Lebron as 2008 KTM Honorees
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 20, 2009) – Perennial leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey will be joined by first-time honorees in trainer Mike Maker and jockey Victor Lebron when Kentucky Thoroughbred Media (“KTM”) honors the winners of its 19th annual leading owner, trainer and jockey awards presented annually to the statistical leaders on the Kentucky racing circuit.
The Ramseys will be honored for a ninth consecutive year as the leading owners in Kentucky racing, while Maker and Lebron will be presented with their first KTM awards during a special presentation at Turfway Park on Saturday, March 21 during festivities surrounding the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (Grade II).
Kentucky Oaks 135 Update 3.20.09
SOUTH/RACHEL ALEXANDRA LIKELY TO POINT TO FANTASY
L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra, a romping winner in last week’s Fair Grounds Oaks (Grade II), is likely to make the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (GII) at Oaklawn Park her final prep for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI).
Trainer Hal Wiggins sais his options for the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro are to train Rachel Alexandra up to the 1 1/8-mile Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 1 or run in the race at Oaklawn Park on April 5.
Thursday, March 19 2009
Triple Crown Productions Press Release
WEST SIDE BERNIE, BITTEL ROAD IN LINE FOR SOLID TEST IN WIDE OPEN LANE’S END STAKES AT TURFWAY PARK
WEST SIDE BERNIE, last seen finishing third in Gulfstream Park’s Holy Bull Stakes, and BITTEL ROAD, fourth in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita, appear likely to vie for the role of favorite in Saturday’s running of the Grade II, $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes at 1 1/8 miles at Turfway Park.
The race is rated as the Northern Kentucky track’s premier prep for the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. It falls at a time when a winner could look ahead to another prep in three weeks or just train up to the May 2 Derby, seven weeks hence. Much has to do with the amount of graded earnings a horse would need to get into the gate for the Churchill Downs classic.
Wednesday, March 18 2009
GOSDEN-TRAINED MAFAAZ WINS KENTUCKY DERBY CHALLENGE STAKES
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The John Gosden-trained Mafaaz-GB ran down pacesetter Sochcahtoa-IRE in deep stretch and held off a late charge by Spring of Fame to win Wednesday’s inaugural running of the $115,000 Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes by a neck at Kempton Park near London.
In addition to the winner’s share of the purse, the 3-year-old colt earned an automatic spot in the starting gate for the 135th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 2 and a $100,000 bonus should the horse compete in America’s greatest race.
Tuesday, March 17 2009
14 ENTERED FOR WEDNESDAY’S KENTUCKY DERBY CHALLENGE STAKES
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A full field of 14 three-year-olds has been entered for Wednesday’s inaugural running of the $115,000 Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton Park near London. In an unprecedented reward, the winner of Europe’s clockwise 1 1/8-mile race over Polytrack will earn an automatic spot in the starting gate for the 135th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 2 and a $100,000 bonus should the horse compete in America’s greatest race.
“I am thrilled by the quantity and quality of the horses that have been declared for the race, which has taken two years of planning,” said Brian “Barney” Clifford, director of racing at Kempton Park. “The race is unique and is the first step between establishing a long term link between Europe and American racing and I am very much looking forward to Wednesday.”
Monday, March 16 2009
Kentucky Derby 135 Update (3.16.09)
SOUTH/FRIESAN FIRE SIZZLES IN LOUISIANA SLOP
Kentucky-born trainer Larry Jones has been in an enviable spot throughout the winter while caring for a pair of stars in early Kentucky Derby (Grade I) favorite Old Fashioned and up-and-coming Friesan Fire in his barn, but the pecking order in the Jones stable could have changed in the space of just over an hour on Saturday afternoon
Shortly before Old Fashioned suffered his first loss in the Rebel Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn Park, Friesen Fire turned in the strongest effort of his career with a 7 ¼-length victory in the 96th running of the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (GII) over a “sloppy” track at Fair Grounds.
Kentucky Oaks 135 Update (3.16.09)
SOUTH/RACHEL ALEXANDRA ROMPS FAIR GROUNDS OAKS, BUT CONNECTIONS CONTINUE FOCUS ON KENTUCKY OAKS
L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra scored another dazzling win in Saturday’s $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII), but her connections said the focus of the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro would remain on the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (GI) on May 1 at Churchill Downs – not on a meeting with males one day later in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
Rachel Alexandra’s victory margin over runner-up Flying Spur was only 1 ¼ lengths, but jockey Calvin Borel had trainer Hal Wiggins filly geared down to a gallop in the final furlong.
Hectic Weekend of Preps Ends With ‘All Others’ Favored, Friesan Fire Moving in Derby Future Pool 2
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 15, 2009) – A weekend of upsets in important prep races for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) convinced many racing fans to turn to the “all others” option as the mutuel field ended up as the lukewarm 9-2 favorite in the second of three pools in Churchill Downs’ 2009 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”).
The mutuel field, which included all 3-year-olds other than the 22 individual horses listed on KDFW Pool 2’s roster of betting interests, stood as the 9-2 fan’s choice when betting on the four-day pool closed on Sunday at 6 p.m. (all times Eastern). “All others” had been a strong 9-5 favorite in Pool 1, which ran from Feb. 12-15.
Justwhistledixie Edges Rachel Alexandra, Stardom Bound for Top Spot in Kentucky Oaks Futures
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 15, 2009) – The powerhouse duo of champion Stardom Bound and Rachel Alexandra figured to be the top stories in the only pool of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”) of 2009, but it was rising star Justwhistledixie who stole the show and ended up as the favorite over that powerhouse duo as four days of Oaks Future betting drew to a close Sunday evening.
Justwhistledixie held on to the favorite’s spot in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager despite an impressive victory by Rachel Alexandra in Saturday’s $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks and last week’s win by reigning 2-year-old filly champion Stardom Bound in the Santa Anita Oaks (GI). But neither of that star duo could overhaul Justwhistedixie for the favorite’s spot in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool.
Sunday, March 15 2009
JUSTWHISTEDIXIE, STARDOM BOUND, RACHEL ALEXANDRA REMAIN TOP CHOICES HEADING INTO OAKS FUTURE FINALE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 14, 2009) – The streaking Justwhistledixie, an impressive winner in the Davona Dale (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park in her most recent race, continued to be a surprising favorite over the high-powered duo of reigning 2-year-old filly champion Stardom Bound and Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Rachel Alexandra as Churchill Downs’ 2009 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”) headed into the last day of its four-day run.
West Point Thoroughbreds, Lakland Farm and Dee Hubbard’s Justwhistledixie, a daughter of Dixie Union who has won four consecutive races, remained a solid 2-1 favorite after Saturday’s betting and has been the fan’s choice throughout Pool 2. She remained atop the KOFW betting roster over Stardom Bound, winner of five straight Grade I races, and Rachel Alexandra, who rolled to an impressive victory on Saturday in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII). Both of those fillies were 7-2 shots at the end of Saturday’s betting, with Stardom Bound ending up as the actual second betting choice.